28 July 2012

London's Drunken Olympic Marathon

The 1908 Marathon in the London Olympics is notable for a few reasons. (Warning: historical trivia follows.)

1. The initial winner was a Brit but he was eventually disqualified because he collapsed four times before the finish line and British officials essentially carried him over it. He was disqualified and an American then won.

2. The American thinks he would have won outright except that he drank champagne a couple of miles away from the finish line. Champagne was then considered an energy drink akin to red bull. The champagne, he claims, gave him cramps. (Although obviously he was not as in bad a shape as the poor Brit who couldn't even stand.) 

3. This first modern day marathon was 26.2 miles, a distance that became the standard. This distance was not chosen because of history or precedent but simply because it was the distance between the window from which Princess Mary wanted to watch the runners begin the race and the Royal Box at the Stadium where the race ended. 

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